Film and TV

American Idol Ladies' Night Is Sickeningly Sweet

American Idol judge Simon Cowell recently told a teleconference he predicted a woman would win this season of the show (his last), and judging by Tuesday's night's performances of the top 12 ladies, the talent was definitely there.

What stood out besides the 12 females' vocal chops was how sickeningly sweet the majority of the contestants were. It's hard to remember there ever being a line-up of girls sans sarcasm, and even a carefree hippie couldn't tarnish the cast's squeaky clean personas.

Here's a recap of the performances and highlights from the show:

First, it's worth pointing out that Ellen DeGeneres is just so freaking good as a host. She's way better than Kara DioGuardi and way, way better than Paula Abdul. She's empathetic and caring, yet she's not afraid to say exactly what she feels, even if she has negative criticism. And how can you not love her, when after every comment, no matter how scathing, she smooths it over by sitting back in her chair and smiling? One of the biggest highlights of the night was when she said "hot mess". Seriously, let's get more screen time for Ellen!

Paige Miles, the first contestant, sure is stoked she doesn't have to wipe snot off kids' noses any more. Hold up, honey--that performance of Free's "All Right Now" was pretty dull, so she better spice it up next week if she wants to stay away from the day care. And please, stop talking in third person.

Ashley Rodriguez was probably the prettiest contestant, but her rendition of Leona Lewis' "Happy" makes it possible she might have a brighter future in modeling than in singing. While the performance was much more pleasing than listening to Lewis sing, Rodriguez needs to stop, as the judges would say, playing it safe.

Janell Wheeler, viewers learn, works at as a wine sales rep. Hopefully that means she shilled for Franzia at a local dive wearing skimpy outfits--this season needs a big scandal! While Wheeler herself was cute and charming, her performance of Heart's "What About Love" was off beat and a little awkward.

Lilly Scott mos def stood out for her cool, rough-around-the-edges voice. She's like this season's Josiah Leming, living out of her car and performing at local spots. If for no other reason than she should have a decent roof over her head, this girl is worth rooting for. But her vocal chops make Scott an instant stand-out.

Holy hair, Katelyn Epperly! The lioness is very sweet, and there's a ton of emotion behind her vocals. The judges were right that her glam makeover seemed a little like she was trying too hard, but she seems like she could easily make the finals with her smooth vocals.

Haeley Vaughn is impossible not to like. The flower headband-lover wears a permasmile, but when she sang "I Want to Hold Your Hand," by The Beatles, there were screechy parts so bad, it was hard not to wince. She needs to sing, not scream the high notes, and hope that her likability allows her to survive. Prediction: Bottom Three.

Lacey Brown is a sweet church girl with fiery red hair... and she played Fleetwood Mac. Totally predictable, and she didn't even stay on key during the song! She got booted early last season, not even making the Top 24, and it's a wonder she made it through this time. Prediction: Bottom Three.

Michelle Delamor is one of the more commercial contestants, thanks to her size zero and glittering smile. We already have an Alicia Keys, though, and we don't need another one. Delamor lumbered through Keys' "Fallin'" and wasn't much better than Keys herself. But Delamor is perky, so she'll probably stay on another week.

Didi Benami, who audiences have grown to know as the season's biggest crier, redeemed herself with a very endearing version of Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am." Benami has a relaxed style, which is nice in such a high-adrenaline show. She's sort of like Colbie Caillat, the perfect coffeehouse singer, which makes it questionable how long she can last on a high-paced show like Idol.

Shiobhan Magnus is definitely the weirdest contestant this season, like a female Sanjaya. Just look at her name. Look at her apprenticeship as a glass blower. Look at her penchant for jean jackets, ankle-high socks and hair bows. Her deep voice isn't very pleasing, but the judges seem to be suckers for her magical powers. It will be an oh-so-happy day when she's's pick of the week--imagine the caricature!

Crystal Bowersox (awesome last name) has a baby that actually is cute, and that makes her likable already. The hippie with dreadlocks chose a song that she could manage to play a harmonica in, Alanis Morisette's "Hand in My Pocket." She's really talented both vocally and instrumentally, but it probably wasn't a good idea to say that the only reason she's on the show is to increase her paycheck.

Katie Stevens decided to age 10 years and act like a 27-year-old while singing the dreadful Michael Bublé's "Feeling Good." She was really sexy, in a skin-baring dress, but the song choice and performance belonged in a smoky lounge, not on the American Idol stage. It's a good bet her high school will jam phone lines, but who knows if that will make her a long-lasting competitor. Prediction: Bottom Three.

The top 12 men perform tomorrow night on Fox, and two guys and two gals go home on Thursday night.