Strong start for "Idol:


This is a good sign: Halfway through the first full "American Idol" performances, I already have four favorites. Maybe four-and-a-half.

This was women's night, with the men singing Wednesday and the results -- plus Kris Allen (see previous blog) and Kris Allen -- on Thursday. Here are my favorites; please comment on yours:

-- Lilly Scott, not far removed from when she was living in a car and singing on the sidewalk. Big and blond (platinum), she's memorable for her quirky look and her personal music style.

-- Katelyn  Epperly, an Iowa college student. She has huge flocks of blonde curls that Dolly Parton would love, plus a voice that suggests Connie Francis channeling Patsy Cline.

-- Siobhan Magnus, a glass-blowing apprentice in Cape Cod. She turned a Chris Isaac song into a dramatic experience.

-- Crystal Bowersox, who has the look, the voice and the intelligence of an indie star. Having a son, she said, made her finally go for something commercial. She can do it; here, she sang Alanis Morrisette better than Alanis does.

-- And maybe Michelle Delamor. Yes, she's been a corporate singer and sounds like it. Still, she does it well. When she sang "Falling," there was no need for Alicia Keys.

There were many other things of note. Ashley Rodriguez has a beautiful face, Didi Benami wore a gorgeous vest. The judges, given less time, got to the point more quickly. And by shifting the order, they got away from the repeat-what-Randy-said habit.